****This blog is about….5 months overdue?  Oops.  I can’t think of an inspiring introduction, so this is going to have to do the job**** Here is a condensed list in no particular order of importance for some of the affirmations that I have found useful during my gap year.
….. Some days, I wake up at 5am and am very productive.  Other days, the highlight of my day is gathering the energy to clean my room or change my water filter.  Senegal is challenging the way that I view efficiency, productivity, and my personal definition of success.  That being said, these affirmations are great for those days when the thought of anything that requires any effort sends me into the fiery depths of despair.  This is not saying that every day needs to be productive to the max, or that we don’t all deserve an off day every now and then.  But telling myself these affirmations aloud usually does wonders for my self-discipline and motivation on a day when I’m feeling overwhelmed or lazy and exhausted.   
I believe in myself  
I have the skills and talent required to make a difference
I am open to new opportunities
I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and make a change
I feel strong and inspired every single day


During times when I struggle:


…..Struggling is an inevitable part of life.  No one has a choice in that.  Affirmations can’t change the situation, but they can change the mindset and how we approach our problems.  When I’m going through a rough patch, I try to allow myself to work through it and to experience those initial raw emotions.  But allowing myself to continue a destructive mindset serves no purpose to me or the problem at hand.  I’ve started using this even on days when I don’t feel that I’m struggling, because it helps prevent my mind from getting into a negative space.        
Comfort and complacency stunt personal progress and growth 
Every challenge is a potential triumph or lesson #winning
I let go of any limiting thoughts and beliefs
My mindset affects my reality— I choose to not allow this situation to get the best of me 
If I allow it, this gap year will stretch me in ways I never dreamed of


..… *insert mushy self-love paragraph here* Back in Florida, I have never worried about the state of my self-love.  After coming to Senegal, I have begun to realize the importance of separating self-love and self-confidence.  In my gap year, self-love is a daily action, while confidence is a state of being.  These affirmations remind me daily to take care of myself.  Because I’m worth it *winks like a Covergirl*      
My heart is at peace
I deserve love, and I have it
Be patient with others and yourself
I am an unlimited, creative being
I choose to surround myself only with positive people who lift my energy
Body + Mind + Soul:
….. Preferably spoken or screamed aloud every morning.  Nothing displays mindfulness more than sobbing how you are “living your best life” after you have thrown up almost 90 times within a 14 hour window.  Extra brownie points if you have a vision board to stare at in your room while you demand that your body get wit’ your denial of reality but positive mindset. 
All sarcasm and jokes aside, these affirmations have truly gotten me through some very rough times.  No one wants to feel like crap.  In my personal experience, it takes a lot of will power to get myself out of “my weird place”, especially if I’ve allowed emotional or mental problems to fester and grow.  To avoid an ugly “emotional blister”, I use these types of affirmations as the first step in overcoming any physical/mental/or emotional challenges that I face during my gap year.    
I am open to all forms of personal development and growth
I feel freakin’ awesome today, and I am ready to take on the world
If I can be here now, I can be there then
I am always and easily motivated to take care of myself 
My physical, mental, and emotional health are all vibrant and thriving
Host Family + Cohort + Community:
….. These affirmations are a recent addition to my brood of productive declarations, and I wish that I had added them sooner!  It is never too late into a bridge year to try and improve our engagement with our country cohorts, host families, and/or host communities.  These phrases challenge me to strive to give my best but genuine self to the people I interact with while living here.  I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my overall demeanor, and the increasing amount of effort that I have poured into my community.  
I communicate with honesty, respect and compassion
Everyone is facing unseen battles—kindness matters
I learn new things about my host family, cohort, and host community on a regular basis—I am enjoying all aspects of immersion
I keep understanding and an open heart/mind as the leading actions for all of my interactions here in Senegal
I am open to developing deep and meaningful connections during my gap year
Abundance + Gratitude:
….. More often than I’d like to admit, I have taken many of my blessings for granted.  These things have become the familiar, and I don’t give them the recognition that they deserve.  I find that repeating these types of affirmations reminds me that there is much to be grateful for in my life, and helps put most of my problems here in Senegal into perspective.  Despite any day to day grievances, the fact that I’m even IN SENEGAL is crazy amazing.  Running through this list every morning gives me a good dose of positivity to jump start my day.    
I already have everything that I need to prosper in Senegal
I am thankful for all that I have in my life, both here and back in the States
My gap year is abundant with opportunities (to learn, love and grow)
I appreciate each experience that I have had so far, and I welcome my future in-country experiences with open arms
I receive what I give—I get what I am willing to put into this gap year experience
You don’t have to be some sort of hippie guru to recognize the benefits of positive thinking.    Our minds and thoughts are powerful.  Are there any affirmations or phrases you tell yourself to keep your morale high?  Let me know in the comments : )
DISCLAIMER!!!!!  Ask your doctor or a loved one if affirmations may be right for you.  Side effects include: Euphoria, random giggles, hiccups, happy tears, and an overall improvement in mental and emotional health.